The South Korean government’s stance on digital currencies remains a topic of contention, especially when looking at the latest industry developments taking place within the small island nation. Recent reports indicate that the Supreme Court of South Korea has now officially recognized Bitcoin and possibly other alt-currencies as being ‘assets with measurable value’.

Recognition Means Confiscation?

On the 30th of May, the Supreme Court reconfirmed a past appellate court order which was meant to allow authorities to confiscate a total of 191BTC, worth approximately $1.4 million. The coins in question were earned by a citizen named Ahn, who reportedly received the coins as payment for running an illegal pornography website.

As part of its ruling, the Supreme Court concluded that the applicant was indeed guilty of the alleged crime, which means that confiscation is possible. A repeal was attempted by the defendant’s attorneys but to no avail. The ruling from the Supreme Court clearly stated:

“The cryptocurrency In Question [Bitcoin] is recognized to have Economic value and thus it can be confiscated.”

Therefore, in its ruling, the Court not only concluded that it is indeed possible for South Korean authorities to confiscate cryptocurrencies but also that they are assets with tangible financial value.

Prior to this Supreme Court sentencing, another court sent Ahn to 18 months in prison and imposed a fine totaling approximately $650,000 on him. Following the arrest, prosecutors attempted to confiscate 216 bitcoin that were found in the individual’s possession and were reportedly procured illegally. The high court then decided that 191 out of the available 216BTC were received as payment for the illegal content present on the website.

According to the court judgement:

“The bitcoin were earned from the proceeds of crime (…) if we return the bitcoin to Ahn, it will be giving him back profits that were earned illegally from running an online porn site.”

Based on these aspects, what are your thoughts on South Korea recognizing cryptocurrencies as assets with measurable value? Let us know in the comment section.


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